COVID-19 Mental Health Interventions
Corona virus Disease 2019 is an epidemic that has spread across the world, with 27 positive cases as on 12.4.2020 in Ghaziabad district. The treatment of those affected by the novel corona virus is efficiently underway with the medical infrastructure in the district. But because the disease is the scale of a pandemic and so new to the world, it alone is a cause for more concern and anxiety for those diagnosed and more vulnerable to it, suspected of it. Besides the negative effects of the infection on the physiological well being of individuals It also brings in the risk of psychological distress in people who are diagnosed with it, people who are more vulnerable to it, the healthcare professionals and other essential workers who are at the front line, fighting the disease from close proximity and the overall global and local societies. Therefore, it becomes imperative to equip ourselves and the others with techniques and other tools to deal with the psychological tension and burden that the prevailing situation has brought upon us.
So, for this reason, as part of our psychological crises intervention, district Ghaziabad, in compliance of the directions given by the apex court, has a team of 5 trained mental health professionals to supplement the efforts of the health care community to allay the fears, distress, myths and other possible cognitive distortions surrounding the same.
On ground observations
• Quarantined individuals had many apprehensions and misinformation which led to resistance in getting treatment, also there were attempts to escape the facility.
• Misbehaviour with health care professionals and police personnel.
• Depressive symptoms in individuals who are quarantined .
• News of Instances of suicide and vandalism.
Stressors during Quarantine:
• Stress symptoms include avoidance, denial, anger, resistance
• Inadequate supply of basic essential things
• Frustration due to confinement, lack of routine and social contact
• Fear of Social stigma and victim-blaming
• Ambiguity regarding the disease and its future
• Fear of loss of work and job
Psychological Intervention Areas
• Psycho-education- providing all the information so as to gain a firm understanding of the disease. This is important for disputing myths and/or dealing with apprehension surrounding the disease and clear all doubts regarding the same. The employment of psycho-education techniques helps n reducing anxiety and harmful behavior towards self and others.
• Ensuring the provision of continuous and regular supply of essentials such as food, masks, sanitizers, soaps, mosquito coil, sanitary napkins, medicines for pre existing ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure etc.
• Attempts have been made to set a routine by serving food at fixed intervals so as to maintain the circadian rhythm, which has implications for psychological well being. Light physical activities such as exercise and yoga are also encouraged. They are also provided with free wi-fi to counter boredom and maintain social contact.
• Evidenced based psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive Therapy, Narrative therapy and solution-focused therapy is employed to deal with the psychological stress, anxieties, depressive moods and dispute any existing cognitive distortions that may deteriorate their mental health, to make them understand the entire world is in this pandemic and to remain in quarantine for a short period will greatly contribute to the well being of the community and the nation.
• Organizing support groups (while maintaining prescribes physical distancing) which may be a useful during quarantine to help people in processing the prevailing situation and the negative effects of it which they all are going through collectively. It might help n curbing the loneliness that comes with isolation and may help the individuals in the process of catharsis, reflection, sharing and supporting each other.
• Individual counseling is provided to those who exhibit serious symptoms and extreme negative affect due to their condition.
• Providing the mental health helpline number i.e. 0120-4155313(official)
Shweta Singh- 8808361214
Nidhi Madheshi- 8957347053
• For the individuals to access mental health care whenever they would feel extremely distressed and would like to refer to the professional for help. These numbers are also displayed at COVID hospitals for the patients as well as health care workers.
• Disseminate the importance of physical distancing and quarantine in flattening the curve of COVID-19 disease.
• The mental health professionals are given adequate protective gear to interact with those in quarantine while maintaining physical distancing. They submit a report each day enumerating their findings and apprise the administration about specified issues.
• Psychological interaction with those quarantined will provide the administration with information that would help in understanding their experiences which will then equip the administration in improving and revising the planning and implementation.
• The reported well being of the individuals in the quarantine will send a positive message about the social and physical infrastructure to fight COVID-19.
• Destigmatisation and humanisation of those suffering from the disease or are suspected of it and are in quarantine attributing the dignity that a human being ought to be treated with.
• It would highlight the issue of psychological crises that is a by- product during a pandemic. This will also equip the stakeholders to timely intervene as we can see from reported instances of suicide and vandalism.
• Since there is a strong evidence based co-relation between mental health and immunity, addressing mental health issues would lead to better physical and mental state to fight the disease.
The role of mental health is just as crucial in fighting this pandemic. The aforementioned interventions strive to envision health in a holistic manner and hence deal with it holistically. It would prepare the community to fight better the novel coronavirus disease.